Louvre attacker identified as Dubai resident

AFP-JIJI

French investigators on Wednesday confirmed the identity of the 29-year-old Egyptian suspect in last week’s machete attack outside the Louvre museum in Paris, a source close to the probe said.

Abdallah El-Hamahmy had already been tentatively identified through phone and visa records that matched the name he gave to police.

“Following checks, there is no longer any doubt as to his identity,” the source said.

In Friday’s attack at the world’s busiest museum, Hamahmy was wielding two machetes when he lunged at four soldiers in the underground ticketing area, shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest).

One of the soldiers shot and seriously wounded him in the stomach, and he is recovering in a Paris hospital.

A judicial source said Tuesday that Hamahmy would likely be charged once medical staff say he is well enough to appear before a judge.

Hamahmy has told investigators he did not intend to attack soldiers but instead wanted to stage a more symbolic attack against France by defacing artworks at the Louvre with spray paint that was found in his backpack.

He entered France legally on Jan. 26 on a flight from Dubai, where he is a resident, and was staying in an apartment rented by the week in an expensive Paris district near the Champs-Elysees, sources close to the investigation said.

Investigators are examining a Twitter account thought to be that of the suspect on which a dozen messages were posted in Arabic between 9:27 a.m. and 9:34 a.m., just minutes before the attack.

“In the name of Allah… for our brothers in Syria and fighters across the world,” one said.

Another post asked: “Why are they afraid of the creation of a state for Islam? Because the state of Islam defends its resources and the honour of Muslims.”

It is unclear whether this was meant as an oblique reference to the Islamic State group.

Hamahmy’s father, Reda El-Hamahmy, a retired police officer, told AFP in Cairo that his son had shown no sign of being radicalized.

He said the family was relatively well off, with Abdallah earning a law degree in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura in 2010 before moving to Dubai to become a sales manager.

The father said the suspect’s wife was pregnant with the couple’s second child and was currently in Saudi Arabia.

The Louvre assault revived fears of violence in France, which suffered a string of attacks that killed 238 people between January 2015 and July 2016.